Aster's Good Right Things by Kate Gordon
Aster attends a school for gifted kids, but she doesn't think she is special at all. If she was, her mother would never have left. And if she isn't careful, everyone else will leave her too.
Each day Aster must do one good, right thing - a challenge she sets herself to make someone's life better. Nobody can know about her things, because then they won't count. And if she doesn't do them, things will go wrong.
Then Aster meets Xavier. He wears princess pajamas and has his own kind of missions to make life better. When they do these missions together, Aster feels free, but if she stops her own things, will everything fall apart?
Author Kate Gordon does an incredible job handling this story about a young protagonist with an anxiety disorder. At times it is so authentic, it's hard not to think she's crawled into your head and is writing down your story.
The book has some heavy hitting themes - parental separation, mental health, friendship, fostering and neglect, identity, growth, change - but Gordon handles it with care and love. It is desperately sad, but Gordon ensures younger readers - the book is aimed at middle-grade - see the goodness and hope in Aster's story. She touches on topics so gently and tenderly, yet with such insight. Through Aster readers learn that small things can make a difference, that we shouldn't judge people by their actions, and that there is good in the world.
Gordon has created authentic, complex characters that make you feel. Aster is charming and loveable, while Xavier smashes gender stereotypes and is the perfect example of a good friend. Aster's dad will make your heart swell and Indigo, with all her baggage, is there to help you become more accepting and understanding.
While this is marketed for younger readers, the world will be a kinder, more gentle place if every adult reads it too. Aster's Good Right Things is an incredible story that will touch the heart of everyone who reads it.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell
Riveted Press, RRP $14.99